JERUSALEM (JTA) — About 500 Palestinians erected an outpost in the controversial E-1 area to focus President Obama’s attention on the plight of their people.
The activists set up several tents and a large Palestinian flag on Wednesday afternoon as Obama arrived and was welcomed at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv.
"We are here to send a message to President Obama, our struggle, our nonviolent peaceful resistance, will continue until we are free," said senior Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti, according to Haaretz.
The outpost was named “Grandchildren of Yunis,” a reference to a popular Palestinian novel about Palestinians after the establishment of the State of Israel.
Palestinians began setting up outposts in January in the E-1 corridor, which connects Jerusalem to Maaleh Adumim, a West Bank settlement. The Israeli government in November approved plans to build settlement housing in the area in response to the Palestinians’ decision to appeal to the United Nations General Assembly for enhanced statehood status.
The Palestinians claim that building in E-1 would cut off Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, break up the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state and sound the death knell to a two-state solution. Israel’s government argues that bypass roads would maintain contiguity.
Meanwhile, a new neighborhood was established in the Karmei Tzur settlement in honor of Jonathan Pollard, a spy for Israel entering the 26th year of a life sentence in a U.S. federal prison. The neighborhood will be called Tzur Yonatan.
The dedication on Wednesday was meant to send a message to Obama that building in the settlements will continue and that he should grant clemency to Pollard, according to The Jerusalem Post.